What Do Penguins Eat | What Do Different Types of Penguins Eat

Not many people would be aware as to what do penguins eat for the reason that these species live apart from the human habitats. Penguins are the flightless birds that belong to the family of Spheniscidae with the order of Sphenisciformes. These birds are the inhabitants of Polar Regions like Antarctica and Southern Hemisphere.

Penguins are highly adaptable to living in the cold waters. They have wings that are known as flippers. Penguins largely rely on fish, squid, krill and other forms of aquatic life for their daily consumption. Most of their lives are spent underwater which is why they are termed as marine creatures. Some of the species are also known to reside in the far south or in the temperate zone such as Galapagos penguins.

What Do Penguins Eat?

Now we’ll discuss individually by what do different types penguins like to eat.

What Do King Penguins Eat

King penguins primarily feed on squid and fish. These types of penguins are less dependent on Southern Ocean predators on krill or crustaceans. Fish covers bulk of the king penguins diet in that 80 – 100% diet is composed of fish. However, at the start of the winter in the months of July and August, king penguins eat only 30% of fish.

The primary fish that frequently becomes the diet of king penguins is Lanternfish. Some other fish includes Slender escolar of the Gempylidae and Electrona carlsbergi. The diet is also composed of cephalopods such as Hooked squid, Moroteuthis, Kondakovia and Onychoteuthis.

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What Do Emperor Penguins Eat

Emperor penguins predominantly feed on fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods although its composition differs from population to population. Fish is by far the most common food of emperor penguins. The primary fish which these birds are very fond of is Antarctic silverfish.

They also prey on other fish including Nototheniidae, the Hooked Squid, the Glacial Squid, and the Antarctic krill. These flightless birds tend to prey in the open water of the Southern hemisphere, either in tidal cracks or in free areas. They are adaptable enough to dive 50 metres (164 feet) water and to prey on sympagic fish including Bald notothen.

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What Do Adelie Penguins Eat

These penguins largely prey on Antarctic krill, Antarctic silverfish, Glacial Squid, and ice krill. Glacial squid is mainly preferred during the chick-rearing season. The stable isotope record of fossil eggshell amass in colonies over the last 38,000 years disclose an abrupt change from a fish-based diet to krill that initiated two hundred years ago. This is possible because of the deterioration of the Antarctic Fur Seal since the 18th century. (see also: What do Adelie Penguins eat?)

Dig Deeper: Adelie Penguin Facts For Kids

What Do Gentoo Penguins Eat

These types of penguins rely on crustaceans, fish, and krill. Unlike other penguins, these species do not primarily feed on fish in that only 15% of their diet is composed of fish. Gentoo penguins are considered to be opportunistic feeders and they prey on equal proportions of fish around the Falkland. These fish includes Micromesistius australis and Patagonothen.

Dig Deeper: Gentoo Penguin Facts For Kids

What Do Little Blue Penguins Eat

 (What Do Penguins Eat)

Little penguins preferably feed on fish, squid, and other forms of marine animals. These flightless birds tend to travel great distances in search of these nutrients. In general, they are considered to be the inshore feeders. Most of their dives are less than 2 meters by depth with the duration measuring at 21 seconds approximately. Nonetheless, they are adaptable enough to be submerged for about 50 – 60 seconds, with the depth measuring at 20 meters.

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What Do White-flippered Penguins Eat

These birds tend to feed on tiny shoaling fish, anchovies, cephalopods, pilchards, and mostly crustaceans. One of the foremost strategies they adopt is deep-sea diving although they’re mostly known to hunt within the 25 km of coast. The farthest known dive these penguins have ever undergone was 75 km.

What Do Magellanic Penguins Eat

(What Do Penguins Eat)

These birds primarily rely on cuttlefish, squid, crustaceans, krill, and sardines. Magellanic penguins also ingest sea water together with their prey. With the help of their salt-excreting glands, they rid the salt from their bodies.

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What Do African Penguins Eat

(What Do Penguins Eat)

African penguins pursue their prey in open waters. Some of the prey includes pilchards, pelagic fish and anchovies. Other marine invertebrates also form large part of their diet such as squid and crustaceans. These species are known to consume 540 grams of food every day; however, this may go up to 1 kg particularly when raising chicks.

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What Do Yellow-eyed Penguins Eat

These types of flightless birds dive 20 – 60 meters (66 – 196 feet) deep into the water in pursuit of their prey. More than 90% of African penguins diet is composed of fish. Other necessary foods embrace cephalopods and arrow squid. Fish include blue cod, opalfish, red cod, and New Zealand Blueback Sprat. These prey falls between 2 and 32 cm (1 – 13 m) long. During immaturity, cephalopods make almost 50% of the yellow-eyed penguins diet.

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What Do Fordland Penguins Eat

(What Do Penguins Eat)

Fordland penguins like to feed on cephalopods mostly in that more than 85% of their diet is composed of arrow squid and crustaceans. More than 13% comprises krill, and 2% consists of Hoki and Red Cod. Nonetheless, the significance of cephalopods might be exaggerated.

What Do Snares Penguins Eat

These types of penguins primarily rely on krill including Nyctiphanes australis, cephalopods, and small fish. More than 60% of the snares penguins diet is composed of krill, with the fish covers 30%, and about 10% of cephalopods. According to the researchers, the number of fish otoliths and cephalopod beaks pointed out the significance of these kinds of prey to adult penguins while at sea.

According to other study, more than 55% of their diet consists of krill, 21% cephalopods, and 24% of fish. When males return from their foraging trips they tend to synchronize with spring plankton blooms, since they are dependable predictors of food sources. After the males return, females will now go out in pursuit of prey to serve their chicks. They dive into the shallow water to catch their prey. While swimming they can reach a speed of about 15 miles per hour.

What Do Macaroni Penguins Eat

(What Do Penguins Eat)

Marconi penguins primarily feed on variety of squid, fish, and crustaceans. The proportions of the diet vary significantly with respect to the season and locality. More than 90% of these penguins diet is composed of Antarctic Krill which is mainly fed on during the breeding season.

Some other food sources include Painted notie, Marbled rockcod, small fish, lanternfish, Krefftichthys, and Champsocephalus gunneri. Like other species, macaroni penguins tend to swallow 10 – 30 mm diameter and this behavior has been contemplated to assist in offering ballast for deep sea-diving, the exoskeletons of crustaceans in particular that forms an essential part of its diet.

Dig Deeper: Macaroni Penguin Facts

These penguins pursue their prey on daily basis especially when there are chicks to feed. They venture out for about 10 – 20 days whilst incubation and before the moult. These penguins are also considered to be largest user of marine animals such as seabirds. On an estimate, they consume about 9.2 million of krill each year.

They dive down deep into water especially during the summer breeding season. These flightless birds travel apart from their colonies in search of a prey and cover distance ranging from 50 km (30 miles) at South Georgia to the 59 – 303 km (37 – 188 miles) at Marion Islands. They hunt while diving 15 – 70 meters (49 – 230 feet), with a rare diving range up to 100 m (330 ft). Macaroni penguins do not submerge more than 2 minutes and they catch 40 – 50 amphipods and 4 – 16 krill per dive.

What Do Royal Penguins Eat

(What Do Penguins Eat)

Like other species, Royal penguins primarily feed on fish, squid, and krill. They construct their nests by making a thin hole in the sand or in a weeded area. Some plants and stones are also placed inside the nest. Mostly, two eggs are laid in which one usually survives. Both males and females are responsible for incubating these eggs for about 35 days, with regular shifts of 12 days.

After the hatching is done, they watch out for the chicks to feed them. Royal Penguins feed on krill, fish, and small amounts of squid. They build their nests by making a shallow hole in the sand or in a weeded area. They put plants and stones inside the nest. Most of the time, two eggs are often laid, however, only one survives. Both parents incubate the eggs for about 35 days. This is done by rotating 12 day shifts.

After hatching, the male watches out for the chick for 10 to 20 days and the female brings food for both of them. Around 20 days, the chicks will form a home for warmth and safety. The parents continue to feed it 2 to 3 times a day. When the chick is about 65 days old it will have its adult feathers and goes on its own.

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What Do Penguins Eat | Video


2 responses to “What Do Penguins Eat | What Do Different Types of Penguins Eat”

  1. i love it

    1. muradjanan

      Happy to see that you love it.

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